Sunday, March 11, 2007

3 Great Ways to Get More Repeat Ebay Customers

The tragedy of Ebay is that all of your items do not sell all of the time. No matter what you do with your description, title, or pictures. Sometimes there is just no one searching for your exact auction, or not clicking on your perfectly good title.

There are several ways to combat this. Three great ways to sell more items on Ebay is to get repeat customers, customer who respond to a mailing list, or first time bidders who buy multiple items. All of these people will help your business succeed, and there are some tricks to building a loyal customer base.

Getting Repeat Customers
Hopefully you have already Branded your Ebay business. Make a name for yourself that is distinguishable, and meaningful. The easiest way to get repeat customers is to sell consumable products. If you sell things like calling cards, printer ink, packaging tape, etc... it should be easy to get repeat business. All you would have to do is make a free business card at Vista Print with your business name and Ebay ID on it, and put it in with every package you ship. The next time your customer needs a roll of packaging tape, they will (hopefully) look for your card and buy from a seller they can trust.

One way you can further increase the likelihood of a repeat customer through use of business card is to offer a discount (maybe 10%?) on their next purchase or an automatically reduced shipping charge. Reward your customers and they will come back again and again.

Starting a Mailing List
With a Mailing list you will be able to reach out to as many potential bidders as you are able to get to sign up. They can be old customers, or just potential ones you have gotten to sign up. After they are on a mailing list, you can email them weekly telling them about the new inventory you posted, or sales that are happening, etc... This is a great way to remind your past and potential customers that you have something which they need to buy. "Is your ink toner running low?" does the same thing, reminding previous customers to buy books similar to ones they have purchased in the past. It is a good idea to copy the pros on this one.

A good way I have noticed to get people on a mailing list is to offer a discount (5-10%) on their first purchase if they join. Not only will this help your mailing list grow, but it will help create a bidding frenzy when more than one person bids on your auction.

Getting Bidders to Buy Multiple Items.
Another great way to increase sales is to tell your bidders , and create an easily accessible link, to check out your other auctions because you are offering discounted shipping rates (or expedited shipping) if the bidder buys more than one of your great items. Remember that you can pack up to 75 pounds of anything into a USPS flat rate box for $8.10.

When thinking about offering discounts on your items it is important that you still make a profit for each item you sell, keep this into consideration. However, a preliminary discount that leads to a repeat customer is more than worth the time and money.

Good luck out there, and give me comments for any of your questions.
Offer discounted shipping with multiple items purchased
Put in a business card with each item you send.
Sign up for our mailing list, and receive x% off your first order

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Want to find out What Sells Best on eBay?

If you are an eBay seller who finds most of their things at garage sales, estate sales, Goodwills, or other thrift stores, it is a good idea to know what sells best on eBay.

A good way to see what sells best on eBay is to check out eBay Pulse. This is a list of the top 10 most searched for items in each category, and then sub-category. This should be your list of dream items to encounter while shopping. These items are the ones you should buy with little hesitation when seeing.

In fact, it is a good idea to keep a notebook and write these things down to take with you on your product buying adventures. Though, it is a good idea to note the reason most of these things are so sought after is because they are expensive, so it might be hard to find them in your daily searches. But it is possible.

For example, I sell a lot of used clothing on Ebay when I can not find anything else. Clothing is a reliable source of income for me, and something which is fairly easy to fall back on. Now when I look at the current Ebay Pulse list, it shows the top ten items that are selling best on eBay under Clothing, Shoes and Accessories:
1. coach
2. nike shoes
3. louis vuitton
4. gucci
5. chanel
6. prada
7. abercrombie
8. juicy couture
9. shoes
10. hollister

Now I know I am not going to run across Coach, or Louis Vuitton products very often, but things like Juicy Couture, Hollister, and Abercrombie are fairly common. The top 10 lists get narrowed down even further. Most of the clothes I find are women's, so it makes sense for me to know what the most popular selling women's clothing is:

1. abercrombie
2. rock & republic
3. diesel
4. lucky
5. hollister
6. juicy couture
7. bebe
8. banana republic
9. american eagle
10. bcbg

This list is far more accessible than the previous one. The least common thing to find here is rock & republic, and the others are fairly common. I have a list of these brands memorized now, but I used to print them out and take them with me on my clothes shopping adventures.

Another good idea to find out what brand names are selling well on eBay is to watch TV. For example, there are always Gap and Old Navy commercials on. Every time there is a commercial on TV it is advertising partially for you. Even though Gap and Old Navy are not on the list, they are more common than anything found above, and sell through very well. Sometimes surprisingly well! I am always pleasantly surprised whenever I buy a used pair of Old Navy Jeans and sell them for $10-$20.

Other places to look for popular brands are at some of the trendiest stores. Look to the mall, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Pacsun, Urban Outfitters etc... It is their job to find the best selling brands and stock the store with them. It is a good idea to search through their stores and note the brands which they are selling. And don't feel like you have to go to the mall, check out their websites!

These sorts of strategies should work when looking for any item. Look to eBay Pulse in the category you like to sell in, and also think about what kinds of stores sell similar products you are looking to sell.

It is all so easy, and well worth the time spent. Keep a notebook!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

When is the best time to start an auction?

As many of you have noticed, I am sure, that your auctions get bid on at the last minute, it is a good idea to consider what time you want that last minute to be.

First of all, the time you start your auction is the time at which your auction will end. There is no way around this, other than to pay .10 cents per auction to Ebay to have it start at a specific time, or to use a third party service such as

Now when choosing a time and day it is important to consider what you are selling. If you are selling a book about the history of Long Beach California, or surfboards, or anything region specific, it is best to have that item end at an opportune time for that region to see it end.

For example, if you start your auction for surfboards at 6pm Tuesday on the east coast, it will end at 3pm pacific and 2pm in Hawaii. It is important to think about which region you are selling to and start your auction accordingly.

Personally, whenever I am listing items, I try to start the auction between 7pm and 8pm western time, so that it is accessible to bidders on the west coast, and not too late (10pm - 11pm) for bidders on the east coast. I also try to start my auctions on a Sunday night, though if you are considering having an auction run for ten days to get maximum exposure, you should probably start it on a Thursday night, so that it runs through two complete weekends, and ends on a Sunday evening.
Also, if you like the three day auctions, you should start them on a Thursday night, so they too will end on a Sunday.

General consensus among the internet commerce crowd seems to show that the most popular night for shopping is Sunday. The best nights to avoid, I believe, are Fridays and Saturdays, as many people have better things to do on Friday and Saturday evening.

Also, if you are posting multiple items that are the same, or very similar, it is best to spread them throughout the week. The less products ending on the same day, the more a demand is created, resulting in higher ending prices for your auction.

There is another philosophy on starting times, one which I do not yet subscribe to, but which seems semi-credible. This is the idea that you should have your auctions end early in the morning on Mondays. The idea is that if it ends early enough, people who are really interested in the item will give their max bid before they go to bed, in hope of winning it, instead of sniping in the morning. It seems like a nice idea, and is worth testing, but I am going to go with selling Sunday through Thursday nights for now.

Lastly, if you are selling office products, it is a good idea to have your items end on weekdays during office hours. Think about it. Just research your item, attempt to identify a market, and test a time at which you think the most buyers will be shopping.

Good luck with your listings, and please let me know if you have any other tips.